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John's Viewing Journal

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    I've determined that there seems to be little reason for me to watch untranslated anime nowadays since fansubs seem to turn up literally only a few hours after the "raw" versions. Case in point: I watched Kiminozo raw, then found the first fansub literally an hour later.

    A second general comment. Out of the new seasons shows I've watched so far, I haven't been all that impressed. Last season had a number of immediately outstanding titles: Last Exile, Air Master, Popotan, Stellvia, and to a lesser degree, Scrapped Princess. The current batch of new shows haven't yet turned up any real breakthroughs.

    I watched fansubs of R.O.D. TV episodes 3 & 4 then episodes 5 & 6 untranslated. Episode 5 was quite strange because it was stylistically so totally different from all of the other R.O.D. animation. It was really just a weird episode. With episode 6 I'm glad that the show is taking its time to develop, but I think it may be inevitable after the OAV series to be expecting a bit more action out of the TV series than what we've seen so far. So far, the show is entertaining, and has good characterizations, but it's not exciting and exhilerating the way the OAV series was.

    Air Master episode 27 simply blew me away. The episode was just plain *****ing incredible. This really may be the best final episode I've seen since the ending of Gunbuster, ten years ago.

    Godannar (I'm going to spell it "Godannar," not "Gadannar.") was pretty fun, and yet again proves that Gonzo should stick to what they're good at and not giant robot anime, as again this new show makes Gravion all the more bland and uninteresting. There's really nothing here we haven't seen before, but it's done with a lot of energy and a sense of fun that makes it very entertaining to watch.

    I was pleased to see a fansub of the first episode of Wataru turn up. This first episode wasn't as goofy and bizarre as the later episodes I watched years and years ago. But this is a nice show, not only because it's strange and funny, but because it's one of the very few shows in which the hero actually wants to be a hero.

    The hentai anime OAV Fujun Isei Kouyu was quite strange in a number of ways. It's an incest story that seems to focus heavily on the psychology of the boy involved, going to the extent of using lots of odd camera tricks and inverted negative colors for emphasis. It's also unusual in the respect that it's the schoolgirls that tie up and rape the boy in this one, rather than the other way around. So on some respects the OAV was a bit interesting, but in a more conventional sense it was really average quality H anime.

    I watched fansubs of Stand Alone Complex 21 & 22, then an untranslated copy of episode 25. Episode 25 wasn't as guns blazing action filled as I'd anticipated it would be, but it did have a lot more action than most recent episodes have had. I was also almost shocked by how graphically violent this episode was. The characters are unrepentantly homicidal, and the camera doesn't shy away at all. There's certainly no way this will ever air uncut on the Cartoon Network, even on Adult Swim.

    Popotan episode 12 gave me the second wonderful ending of the weekend. Not every question is resolved, but the conclusion left me totally satisfied, and even managed to introduce a nice moral theme.

    The first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist was more lighthearted than I'd expected it to be. It seems pretty clear that this will be the next Slayers. And like Slayers, the first epsiode struck me as being very, very average. It's far from bad, but also not outstanding. This seems like a middle-of-the-road show that will easily be able to sustain its planned 52 episode run.

    I went into Gilgamesh with tempered expectations and got what I was expecting. For a show based on Shotaro Ishinomori manga, I would never have guessed had I not already known. And as has already been mentioned in the Coming Anime forum, the chara design seems better in conception than execution. I've anticipated shows with this style of art design before (Sol Bianca: The Legacy, Parasite Dolls) and been disappointed, so I'm trying not to get my hopes up for this one. I can't really critique the first episode because it didn't really establish enough for me to form a solid opinion on. The visual style is unusual, but not exactly appealing. The story set-up is ambitious, but there's not enough hint yet on whether or not it will pan out gold or only taunting suggestion. I'll have to keep an eye on this one to see where it goes.

    I watched my R3 DVD version of 999-9999. The movie is almost perfectly described a Korean combination of The Ring and Final Destination. It's an odd beast. Occasionally the deaths are wildly inventive, tortorusly full of red herrings, and cleverly sadistic and graphically gruesome. Other deaths are simple and so brief that they're virtually not even seen. Sometimes the acting is painfully bad, but it's compensated for by a usually good story. The ending has a really nice twist. This is definitely a film that I can easily see being re-made for the American market.

    I was sort of looking forward to the Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito TV series for its Carnelian character designs and the possibility of a dark, gothic horror bishoujo anime. Sadly I didn't really get any of that. The initial lesbian theme was so sappy that it almost put me off the show. The character design also, while not bad, just doesn't do justice to the original concept designs. The story also seems to be... odd. I really don't know exactly what to think of this show yet. I'll have to watch it translated and/or see more of it before developing a stronger opinion.

    With the first episode of Battle Programmer Shirase it was nice to see classic AIC style character designs again, but these chara designs just aren't attractive. The story also didn't seem very interesting or appealing to me. I may give this a second chance, but the first episode didn't look very promising.

    Broadcast along with BPS (Battle Programmer Shirase) is Bindume Yousei -Bottle Fairy-. Apparently I won't have to miss even a week of the voice of Mii from Popotan. The show is supposed to be simple and cute, and it accomplishes that marvelously. This seems to be a sweet and cute little show that I think I'll probably enjoy a lot.

    As has been mentioned elsewhere on this forum, the first episode of Kimi ga Nozomu Eien reminded me a lot of KOR. But KOR had a fantasy element that's not present here. Kiminozo is exactly the sort of dating sim anime that some people happen to like, but which I'm not personally a fan of. I probably won't be watching any more of this one.


      Naruto continues to prove that it's a quality show when even a relatively disposable episode like 52 is still appealing and very fun, and managed to sneak in a new degree of character development (Enishi's approval of Naruto). I think I'm one of the few people that actually liked the second ending theme song and its accompanying animation. I do not like the third ending theme nor its animation, although I'll admit that the SD characters are cute.

      To prevent myself from getting too worked up, I'm not going to discuss last nights Bucs vs Colts game.


        My curiosity got the best of me and I broke down and watched the first episode of Pretty Guardian Sailormoon. It shocked me. After watching some episodes of Kamen Rider 555, I'm well aware that Japanese tokusatsu TV shows are capable of exceptional special effects, direction, and all-around quality. The live action Sailormoon just seems cheap and amateurish. The special effects and costume design are marginal at best. The lighting is low budget. And the direction, editing and especially camera placement all seem inexperienced or mis-directed. The whole show just gives the impression of something hastily thrown together for child viewers with little consideration to technical quality. I won't be watching any more of it.

        At first I thought Scrapped Princess episode 23 was just a well directed and scripted calm before the storm. It put everything in place, and developed character in preparation for the final episode to have a massive emotional and dramatic punch. Then the climax of the episode came and exceeded all of my expectations.

        On the other hand, the first episode of Gungrave was my biggest disappointment of the new season shows this far. Ever since the game debuted I've been waiting for this anime. But the anime gives the impression that the animators were no more familiar with the game than having read a plot summary. Beside the plot, the anime has nothing at all in common with the game. The animation quality of the anime is marginal. The character design is good (not exceptional) but not as attractive or stylish as the game. The game had a wonderful sense of visual style. The anime has utterly no style or atmosphere whatsoever. And perhaps worst of all, the anime seems to me as though it was intentionally made with the knowledge that it would be released in America because it's totally bloodless. For an undead killer hell bent on revenge against the gang that killed him, Grave doesn't even actually kill any people. He now shoots monsters. And shoots them slowly. Noir had no graphic blood, but it was still stylish and dark and exciting. All of the excitement, action, and fury have been drained out of this anime leaving only a lumbering, slow moving, drab looking husk of a show behind. From what started out as a hyper-stylized John Woo homage, we're left with Trigun missing the fun factor. Sad.


          Gunslinger Girl may become my next favorite anime out of the new season. When the first episode ended I literally had to check the running time because I was so engrossed that the episode seemed to end unexpectedly soon. It's a great looking show, balancing sharp detail with a soft, hazy look when appropriate. The show is perhaps the all time gun otaku anime, lavishing fetishistic detail on the mechanical accuracy of the weapons (although I don't understand the point of a bayonet on a shotgun. Rifle, yes. Shotgun, no.) The characters of the girls were also refreshing. It's always nice to see a show with a cast of girls that doesn't characterize at least one of the girls as a prima donna or b*tch. The talking heads are a bit slow, but the action more than makes up for the dull parts. Especially after the disappointment of Gungrave, I'm estatic to see an anime that pulls no punches.

          Speaking of pulled punches, last night I also watched the HK martial arts movie Extreme Challenge. Quite a disappointment. Disregarding the utterly terrible story and writing and poor attempts at both romance and dramatic tension, what could have been thrilling bare fisted and weapon combat sequences were largely ruined by poor camera placement and bad editing. For pure martial arts, the film isn't really bad, but it's far from what it clearly could have been.


            Even translated, R.O.D. TV episode 5 is still a strange beast. The episode is full of unexplained points and seems totally out of context in relation to the stylistic tone of the rest of the show. If you don't think about it much, it's a fun episode, but I just can't get over my misgivings about it. But seeing it translated was interesting because it made it clear that the paper sisters' manipulation abilities aren't as versitile or powerful as Yomiko's.

            The first episode of Planetes was surprisingly light hearted and fun. It's still a hard sci-fi show, and it doesn't seem like a show I'll be likely to keep watching, but the first episode was excellent. It's just not in a genre that I really like.

            The first episode of Kousetsu Hyaku Monogatari was a just wondeful. For some reason, it didn't really strike me as thoroughly original, possibly because it showed so much influence from sources including Edward Munch and Go Nagai and traditional Japanese ghost stories. But the visual design of the show is magnificent, and the characterizations are instantly appealing and moody and interesting. I can tell already that this is a show that I'll be looking forward to every week.

            I watched a fansub of the first episode of Fullmetal Alchemist. Dialogue translation didn't really make much difference for me. I guess in both a good and bad sense, translated dialogue didn't impress me, but I also didn't lose any of my interest in the show either.

            I also watched a fansub of the first episode of Yami to Boushi to Hon no Tabibito (henceforth to be referred to as "YamiBou"). I still don't know what to think of this show. Part of me wants to dislike it, but another part of me wants to reserve judgement until I get a better feel for it. I want to like this show, but the first episode just does nothing to help me proceed toward liking the show.

            I also bought and read AD Vision's first Azumanga Daioh graphic novel. I'm very disappointed with the horrendously bad print quality. A lot of the subtle detail in the art is washed out or drowned out in the American publication compared to the original imported tankouban. I'm also not thrilled with the very mainstream translation. I have trouble getting over Ayumu having a Bronx accent. I don't understand why she wasn't just given simple suffixes like ending her sentences with "-o" or "-ya" to show an accent instead. I'm also disappointed to see the "A new pair" line missing. I figure that's an accurate translation because that's the way it's romanized into English in Japan. Furthermore, I'm disappointed by the way honorifics were handled. Once in the entire book a "-chan" actually slips through, but most of the time the way honorifics were translated just reads stilted and awkward to me. I'm especially disappointed with "Mr. Tadakichi." I never got the impression that Chiyo was intentionally calling her dog "Mr." I think she only added "-san" as a sign of respect, not meant to be taken literally as a title. To me, Chiyo's Tadakichi-san is like Mei's "O-totoro" versus just plain "totoro." But since I know enough about the original Japanese version, I can re-write the ADV translation in my mind while I'm reading, so at least then it's okay.


              If you haven't seen Kill Bill yet, stop reading this right now and go to a theater. The film just blew me away. It surpased all of my very high expectations. Now the speculation on whether or not the animated sequence is anime. Honestly, in my very subjective opinion, it's not. It was made in Japan, and had the superficial characteristics of anime including stylish moves, ultra violence, unusual camera angles, and the facial expressions of the two girls at the end of the clip, but there's nothing there which couldn't isn't distinguishable from high quality animation copied from anime style. The sequence has none of the subtelty or softness I associate with anime. It simply feels blunt and linear and uninspired. It's visually a treat, but it has no emotion. Don't get me wrong. It's an outstanding animation sequence, but to me it's not anime. It's animation created by a Japanese studio for an American movie. It's not anime created with the same characteristics of what I consider anime. Regarding the entire film, Tarintino's grasp of Asian concepts of integrity and respect is spot on, and his recreation of the traditional Japanese chambara films is pitch perfect. The use of music and silence, the mis-en-scene, the calculated use of "fake looking" effects to establish a fantasy setting, The Bride's expression of warrior's pride: everything was simply breathtaking.

              After that, it's difficult for me to write anything else.

              I bought Viewtiful Joe, but haven't yet gotten very far into it. I made it to the beginning of the fourth level. My room-mate beat his copy.

              It's difficult for me to yet draw any opinions based only on the first episode of Tsukihime. The tone is appealing, and the introduction of Arcueid should lead to an interesting relationship. But I can't get past the memory that the first episode of GPM also started out strong then devolved into a very mediocre series. I'm hoping that the same won't happen here.

              The Hajime no Ippo: Mashiba vs Kimura OAV was engaging and exciting. I'm sure I'm not coming into it with the optimum experience since I've only seen a tiny bit of the previous animation. But the characterization of Mashiba was nice because he wasn't made out to be a pure evil. He's not likeable, which is fine, but he is worthy of some respect, and is humble enough to respect himself and his opponent. The fight animation is also thrilling. I realized that the appeal lies in the fact that each punch, each sequence of action is like a little reward for the viewers. So the whole fight sequence is a compelling progression from high point to high point, keeping us continually interested in seeing the next punch or dodge.

              Ojamajo Doremi episode 5 turned up. This was a story progession episode, but still a lot of cute and sweet Doremi fun.

              I watched BPS episode 1 fansubbed, and the translation really did nothing for me. I still find the show mediocre, and just not really very interesting.

              I also watched a fansub of Gunslinger Girl episode 1. Although it shouldn't have surprised me, nevertheless, I was caught off guard by exactly how serious and formal the dialogue was. It's really nice, in a way, as anime this adult don't come along very often.

              The first Ocha-ken anime wasn't really all that great. There's nothing overtly wrong with it. It's just not as inspired or original or unusual as the Afroken or Kogepan anime. (I use the term "anime" lightly in reference to the all CG Afroken OAV.) Ocha-ken isn't bad. It just comes off as a pale immitation of Kogepan.

              Somehow I skipped Scrapped Princess episode 22, so I went back and watched it. It's a relatively important episode, but also one that's rather self-contained, dealing with Pacifica's growing resolution and personal opinion on the circumstances surrounding her. Then I watched episode 24. I have to admit that I still found the battle scene not as exciting or impressive as the first one way back in episode 4 or 5, but it's a nice ending to a very nice show. Now that it's over, I don't think this is a revolutionary show, and not really one that will be particularly remembered, but it had its moments, and on the whole maintained a slightly above average quality.

              Stellvia episodes 25 & 26 gave the show an equally nice ending as what Scrapped Princess got with the exception of Stellvia's epilogue. The epilogue really made the ending by being creative and really giving the show a great sense of having come full circle. I think the ending was a little bit lacking in emotional punch, but I don't think that detracts from the fact that this was an exceptional show.

              I was quite pleased with the first episode of Galaxy Railways. Generally all of the 70s and 80s Matsumoto anime is great. The 90s and more recent stuff, though, varies in quality. There's excellent like Endless Odyssey, good like Queen Emeraldas and Harlock Saga and The Cockpit, and bad like Super Submarine 99 and Cosmo Warrior Zero. Thankfully, this first episode at least seems to fall into the "good" category. I was a bit shocked to see armed Galaxy Express trains, but I also thought it was interesting to see aspects of the galactic railway apart from Three-Nine. At first I thought the show was going to be about the galaxy railway system. Then I thought it was going to be about one of the brothers. Then it seems like it's going to be about a third thing. So I don't yet know where the show is going, but I'm interested in finding out.

              For the first half of the Bucs vs. Redskins game, I really thought our boys were going to get humiliated again. Thankfully we came out in the second half and actually played like defending champions.

              After the first quarter of the Broncos vs. Steelers game I took a nap.

              SD Gundam Mk IV was the Gundam version of Scramble Wars. I wonder which came first. Fun, silly and disposable.

              The first episode of Peacemaker Kurogane was quite an oddity. It seems at first like it's Gonzo's only half-way successful attempt at creating a bishonen anime for girls. But then the climax of the episode seems to be too bloody for typical female audiences. It's like the show is aiming for cross-over male and female viewers. I don't know if it can accomplish that, but if it can, I'm willing to go with it. I thought it was very interesting that the show balances its presentation of the Shinsengumi between portraying them as evil killers and idols of hundreds of thousands of contemporary Japanese schoolgirls. The character art and backgrounds are all attractive, but the CG hallway in the early part of the episode was just hideous looking. I can't really say yet if this will turn out to be a successful anime, in a technical sense. Guess I'll have to watch more of it to see whether it can convincingly pull off what it's trying to be.

              Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu episode 5 introduced Issei, so Tessa shouldn't be far behind. This episode seemed to me like the most disposable and forgettable one so far, possibly because it's the first episode to not directly focus on the relationship between Chidori and Sousuke. But like the first four, this is still a very entertaining episode that I still like better than any of the episodes of the first series.

              I watched Bottle Fairy episode 1 subbed, and episode 2 (subbed) for the first time. Seeing it translated, I now really love the show. It's so adorable, and the puns and parodies on Japanese culture are so fun.


                I enjoyed the second episode of Fullmetal Alchemist more than I did the first. The second episode seemed a bit more dramatic, possibly because it had already established the characters and conflict. It also had a very satisfying poetic justice climax. But episode 3 is a flashback origin episode. I hate cliche flashback origin episodes!

                I struggled through another level of Viewtiful Joe. I guess my coordination is just not good enough to really do well on the fourth stage of the game (the lava stage that ends with the train.)

                And I watched the Monday night game. Not much competition, but at least the game was brisk and exciting. And all you Madden lovers, forgive me, but John Madden is such an ignorant fool!


                  The second episode of BPS still didn't really thrill me. I guess maybe I'll continue to watch it just becasue the epsiodes are short.

                  I really enjoyed the first episode of Sakigake!! Cromartie High School. I'm also a huge fan of Queen. But to the point, I'm sort of surprised to see the show because the anime industry hasn't made a bosozoku style anime since the early 90s, so this is sort of nostalgic. It's also wildly funny because it's so bizarre and maintains a weird balance of innocence and wonder amidst aggressive characters, kind of like a rabbit living in a lion's den.


                    As Thomas Wolfe wrote, "You can never go home." On that theme, last night I watched the first episode of the Tenchi Muyo OAV series 3. I don't even know where to begin. The extended flashbacks do nothing besides starkly remind me that the original animation from 10 years ago is actually better than this brand new work. It looks better, and it's more interesting to watch. At times the new character designs are just flat out ugly. Furthermore, I can't stand the change in Mihoshi's character. I never like Mihoshi much, but at least she used to be just ditzy. Now she's ditzy and lazy. Furthermore, the show seems to go out of its way to include sequences for no other reason than because it seems to feel the need for them. The extended sequence with Tenchi meeting his old friends seems out of place and aggrevating and totally pointless. The sequence with Ryo-Oh-Ki getting lost also seems like it was included only as an excuse to show Ryo-Oh-Ki's little girl form. I was also very confused by some of the character reactions. Several times throughout the OAV, character reactions to some event seem totally inappropriate and arbitrary. It's just confusing that sometimes the characters seem angry or shocked or surprised for seemingly no reason. I guess only because I've seen worse, I'm hesitant to call this new Tenchi Muyo bad, but Good Lord, it wasn't good.


                      The first episode of Maburaho was quite mediocre. It's a cute and simple fan service show about a magic high school (school where all the students use magic). It reminded me of a slightly more appealing Psychic Academy. It's not a show that I'd be opposed to watching more of, but at the same time it's not something I'm likely to go out of my way to continue watching.

                      It sounds strange to me to say that the second episode of Godannar was a "story development" episode, and that probably implies more than what really happened, but this episode was pretty much just designed to move the story forward, as there wasn't much giant robot action in it.


                        FMP! Fumoffu? episode 6 (chapter 10) wasn't quite as funny as the earliest episodes of the show, but it was at least as good, if not better, than any of the episodes of the first TV series.

                        Peacemaker Kurogane episode 2 was a story and character development episode. Fairly mundane.

                        The Korean film My Wife is a Gangster wasn't quite what I expected. It wasn't quite as action filled as I'd hoped, but that's not a flaw with the picture. Perhaps because I'm used to slapstick, over-obvious American romantic comedies, I was surprised by the subtelty of the humor in this movie. The film isn't a cult, underground hit and not really a film that I can get behind, but it is a very well written and well made mainstream romantic comedy that doesn't condescend to its viewers.

                        I'm afraid that my support of the R.O.D. TV series is beginning the waver after watching episodes 7 & 8. The production values are still excellent, but the show just isn't going anywhere. And it's just not very exciting. I'm still confused by the obsession with the macabre in the show. Episode 7 had a ghost story/horror movie atmosphere again. And episode 8 had the kids trying to capture a ghost. The theme just seems incongruous with the rest of the show, making it distracting and confusing. I really want to love this show, but the further I watch, the less reason it's giving me to really support it.

                        Naruto episodes 53 & 54 were simple, quiet episodes. I'm sure their content will have major influences on future episodes, but at the present they just seem to be simple and workmanlike episodes. The new opening animation for episode 54 is attractive, but I still like the second opening more. And I like the earlier opening and ending themes much more than the current ones.

                        During my little Saturday night club meeting I watched Gunslinger Girl episodes 1 & 2. Episode 2 did a nice job of advancing character, and showed off a really neat bit of writing and direction by using flashbacks and jumps in time to fill in the gaps in the first episode.

                        Saturday night, we/I watched Ong-Bak again.

                        I watched Avenger episode 1 fansubbed. The translated dialogue added a sense of mystery to the show and made it a bit more appealing. I'll have to get around to watching more of it to see if I actually like the show or not.

                        Translated dialogue didn't help much in Yukikaze OAV 3. I guess, in a superficial sense, the episode did introduce a new plot point, but much of the episode just doesn't really seem to make sense.

                        Gilgamesh episode 2 suffered a massive plummet in animation quality. The characters are still... interesting looking. But in episode 2 they move like robots. The episode revealed a bit more atmosphere and a lot more mystery. Again, I'll have to see more before really forming an opinion.

                        I watched a fansub of Gungrave episode 1. Perhaps because this time my expectations were lower, I enjoyed it slightly more. But it's disappointing to have to dramatically lower my expectations to be able to even marginally enjoy this show.

                        On the other hand, watching Kousetsu Hyakku Monogatari the second time was even more rewarding. I actully liked it even more the second time because this time I knew exactly what was going on and who everyone was.

                        The first episode of Cromartie High School went over pretty well with the few friends I watched it with.

                        On Sunday I watched the Rams handily defeat the Packers, and watched the 49ers toy with our Bucs before finally putting them out of the game.

                        I played two more levels of Viewtiful Joe, making it up to the defeat of Alastor.

                        Ocha-ken episode 2 was again peaceful and soothing, and not as interesting as Afroken or Kogepan.

                        After Bottle Fairy episode 3 maintained a single theme throughout the episode, I'm not sure if I like it better this way or like the first two episodes that have several different topics in a single episode. The show is still very cute, and does a very good job of using such cute characters without becomming too syrupy or sappy.

                        I saw the House of the Dead movie because I had a chance to see it for free. This is all I have to say about it: Van Damme's Street Fighter.


                          The first episode of Mujin Wakusei Survive was fairly predictable and not really outstanding. It's not bad. It simply seems like a simple and unchallenging sci-fi anime made for youner viewers and families. It's the type of show that I'd continue watching if I didn't have anything else to watch, but it's not appealing enough for me to make an effort to continue with it.

                          I was a bit disappointed with the shortcuts in animation and rather poor animation quality in Tsukihime episode 2, but the episode did have a nice atmosphere. Gunparade March is still in the back of my mind, so I'm not quite ready yet to predict whether or not this show will be quality or not. At this point, I think it could go either way. I'm still not enthused with the character design, though. Relative to the Tsukihime character designs I'm used to from Type Moon, the anime chara designs are too tall and too gaunt.

                          And I watched the European import DVD version of the Japanese splatter horror movie Biotherapy. Honestly, this DVD is either home made or bootleg, in part because it looks like a home made transfer from a poor quality VHS source. The film itself is also older than I'd expected. It's probably from the 1980s. The movie doesn't make much sense, and parts of it are just terrible, but the the gore scenes are graphic, and the make-up effects surprisingly good. This film is really similar to a shorter version of some of Lucio Fulci's lesser films like Black Cat and Cat in the Brain.


                            I finally got around to watching the RahXephon movie. I was a bit tentative about it because I'm not used to these condensed version movies usually being very good. To my pleasant surprise, the RahXephon movie is actually quite good. It's supposed to have 30 minutes of new animation, but it seemed like more than that to me. The film did have some problems, but it's disjointedness and lack of evocative atmosphere are inevitable results of condensing 12 hours of anime down to under 2. But the new footage is used brilliantly to reveal new plot points and round out the film instead of being just used as transitional material as was the case in the Yotoden movie, Gundam 0083 movie and Gundam W movie. The RahXephon movie actually manages to tell a slightly different story than the TV series, and largely manages to make you forget that you're just watching little bits and pieces of a larger work. I'm very glad that I took the time to watch this.

                            On the other hand, the first episode of the F-Zero: Falcon Legend TV series was the worst anime I've seen since the Green Green OAV, which was one of the worst anime I've ever seen. The story in F-Zero is nothing spectacular, the character design is simply painful to look at, the CG is cheap looking and doesn't blend with the animation at all, and the backgrounds and background characters are drawn poorly. I suffered through one episode just for the experience, but I won't watch any more of this.


                              After watching YamiBou episodes 2 & 3, I still don't know if I like it. With these two episodes, though, it is becomming more redily apparent that the anime is based on an H game.

                              The room-mate rented 28 Days Later. It's a really good sci-fi/horror film. It's occasionally gruesome, but not excessively so, and its occasional graphically violent scenes are all in service of the story rather than splatter style gore for the sake of gore. (I'm not one to complain about senseless gore, though.) The film is creepy because of its "what if" plausibility, and it maintains a constant sense of tension by emphasizing the dread and danger of ordinary daily life.


                                Godannar episode 3 showed me some of the goofiest character designs I've seen in a while, as well as a whole lot of rather silly action. It's also good competition for Divergence Eve in the cleavage category, except Godannar does it well while Divergence Eve didn't.

                                Olaf Ittenbach's Black Past was quite a little number. The story is a bit lacking, the acting less than superb, and the budget obviously minimal. But the gore was stellar, and the extended, sadistic, torterous murder sequences far more gruesome than even I expected. This film is definitely the sort of splatter horror that instantly comes to mind in the back of your skull when you think about the horror movies your mother wouldn't let you watch. For reference, the axe dismemberment from Evil Dead is about where this movie begins. This earlier film wasn't paced as effectively as Premutos, nor did it have the twisted and macabe humor of Premutos, making it a lesser film. But for a fan of gore, the extended, languorous violence is more shocking than the massive body count of Premutos. Not only does this movie contain the sort of extreme, excessive gore that can't really be done in American movies, this film's violence is so extreme and intense that it's probably beyond even the imagination of most viewers. We're literally talking about graphic mutilation so extreme that it leaves bodies as literally nothing more than unrecognizable strewn about hunks of pink, bloody flesh.